Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Regime’s GCC loses support

Regime’s GCC loses support -
14 MAY 2008

The interim regime looks unlikely to garner the two-third support it needs from the provincial councils to convene the Great Council of Chiefs next month.

So far, seven of the 14 provinces have rejected changes to the GCC brought by the regime. They are Rewa, Namosi, Naitasiri, Lomaiviti, Ra, Cakaudrove and Nadroga

More are expected to follow suit before the end of this month.

This according to the paramount chief of the Burebasaga confederacy illustrates the unity of chiefs in the country not to be part of this initiative by the interim Government.

Ro Teimumu Kepa said the seven provinces within her jurisdiction will not support the changes to the GCC too.

“Whatever they are asking of us will not be fulfilled,” she said.

Meanwhile, the provinces of Macuata, Bua, Lau, Kadavu and Serua have yet to decide on their stand.

The Ba province is split. Tui Tavua Ratu Ovini Bokini’s court challenge of his ousting as GCC chair played a major role in Ba’s decision.

There are strong indications that Tailevu, which holds its Provincial Council meeting tomorrow, will also reject the interim Government’s initiatives.

As it is, the new criteria for membership to the reconstructed GCC omit certain high chiefs.

These include Ratu Bokini, the paramount chief of Namosi Ratu Suliano Matanitobua, the paramount chief of Cakaudrove Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, the paramount chief of Nadroga, Ratu Sakiusa Makutu, Ro Teimumu Kepa, Serua high chief Ratu Penaia Latianara, and Bau chiefs – Adi Samanunu Talakuli Cakobau, Adi Litia Cakobau, Ratu Epenisa Cakobau, Ratu Jope Seniloli and Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi.

Many other chiefs who have yet to be traditionally installed do not qualify.

According to the GCC taskforce chairman, Ratu Josateki Nawalowalo, chiefs will need to be installed before entering the august body.

He told Fijilive that 80 per cent of chiefs in the country have yet to be traditionally installed.

He also said the first meeting of the GCC, scheduled for the end of June, will still go ahead despite most of the provinces rejecting it.

“It doesn’t matter, as long as we have two-thirds of the chiefs joining the council before June, the meeting will go on.”

“We are confident that we will get the numbers before then,” Ratu Josateki said.

Last week, Ratu Josateki said the meeting may not be held in June as a lot of requests were made by chiefs for changes to be made to the GCC promulgation.

However, today he said: “The choice is theirs but if they want to play a waiting game then that’s fine because the council will still go ahead”.

Meanwhile, Ro Teimumu said she has urged all the provinces within her confederacy not to take part in the GCC under the new laws.

The Namosi chiefs’ council or ‘bose vanua’ two weeks ago were told that they have been requested by Ro Teimumu not to be swayed easily and remain steadfast.

Lawyer Ratu Savenaca Komaisavai who is challenging the GCC promulgation in court has indicated that the new law has brought confusion to the traditional Fijian system.

Komaisavai said it is a shame that the paramount chiefs have been excluded by the new GCC law.

“The interim government doesn’t know that the cream of chiefs in the country have been left out and this shouldn’t happen because people will only listen to their high chiefs,” he said.

Kadavu ‘supports GCC, People’s Charter’
14 MAY 2008

Great Council of Chiefs taskforce chairman and Kadavu chief Ratu Josateki Nawalowalo says his province is unified in its support for the new changes to the GCC and the proposed People’s Charter.

He has rubbished claims by critics that the province was split over these initiatives by the interim Government.

“Kadavu is one and we have made a stand that we will support the interim Government,” Ratu Josateki said.

He also confirmed that Kadavu was the first province to support the interim Government when it came to power in 2006.

“We were the first ones to agree with the interim Government because we want change and change is coming,” the Kadavu chief said.

He said that the province would always support any government which is in power.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s an illegal or democratically-elected government we will support it,” Ratu Josateki said.

“Even though we don’t condone coups we should be more realistic and thank the government of the day and learn from our mistakes.

“The more we resist governments the more we will suffer so that’s why we will always support the government of the day.”

Ratu Josateki said the interim Government has done a lot for the people and the provinces and being disrespectful to them is not a wise choice.

“We should be thankful that they have done a lot for us and bring about change to the country so why don’t we give them a chance,” he said.

Ratu Josateki said that Kadavu would never side with any province in resisting the interim Government.

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